Kid-friendly AND allergy-friendly restaurants!



A week ago, OpenTable – the leading provider of online restaurant reservations – published the OpenTable Diners’ Choice 2012 Winners in the category of Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants.  There were 75 winners out of over 12,000 restaurants considered (via 5 million diner reviews).  The full list of results can be found here:

The list spans the country – many in NYC and Orlando, large representations from CA and MA, three located in HI, and even one from AK, amongst the 75.

Given the prevalence of food allergies in children, I thought it would be worthwhile to compare OpenTable’s list to the same restaurants’ ratings on AllergyEats to see which restaurants were among the most kid-friendly AND allergy-friendly.  With the understanding that not all the restaurants on OpenTable’s kid-friendly list are rated on AllergyEats yet, there were still some interesting conclusions.

First and foremost, the “winner” by a long shot was the Not Your Average Joe’s chain of 16 units (14 in MA and 2 in the DC area).  Not only did SIX of their restaurants make OpenTable’s list of the 75 most kid-friendly, but all six also had amazing AllergyEats allergy-friendliness ratings as well – Acton MA (5.0), Arlington MA (4.8), Beverly MA (4.3), Leesburg VA (5.0), Needham MA (4.7), and Norwell MA (4.9).  These six units were also heavily rated on AllergyEats, with the Norwell unit being the second most rated restaurant on the entire site!  I should also point out that Not Your Average Joe’s chainwide AllergyEats allergy-friendliness rating is an off-the-charts 4.8!


Food Allergy Information at Not Your Average Joes


For those who read this blog regularly, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Not Your Average Joe’s and have previously published an extensive interview with their CEO in this blog (“What makes Not Your Average Joe’s well above average? – Let’s hear from the CEO“).  They are well-known in the greater Boston area as being allergy-friendly and demonstrate an amazing commitment to serving our community safely and deliciously.

The other standout was Margaritaville at Universal Orlando Citywalk with a 4.4 AllergyEats allergy-friendliness rating.  This restaurant performed much better than its neighbor, The Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, which only holds a 3.6 AllergyEats rating.

“Honorable mentions” go to the following restaurants with few AllergyEats reviews, but good scores: Max Brenner in Philadelphia, Graziano’s in the Chicago area, and RJ Grunt’s also in Chicago.

On the flip side, there were restaurants identified as kid-friendly by OpenTable that AllergyEats users would seem to recommend against.  In fact, the biggest winner of OpenTable’s awards was the Buca di Beppo chain, which took 25 of the 75 winning slots (how that happened remains a mystery to me)!  HOWEVER, according to AllergyEats users, Buca di Beppo is not very allergy-friendly, with a paltry 3.3 rating on the 1-5 scale.

In addition, there is the famed Brooklyn Diner in Times Square NYC which I can personally attest to as being: a) kid-friendly, but b) allergy-unfriendly.  They hold a 2.5 AllergyEats rating at the moment, so I wouldn’t suggest you dine there with your food-allergic child, no matter how kid-friendly.  A few other restaurants on the list have rather weak AllergyEats ratings, but given the small sample size of reviewers I don’t feel it would be fair to share their names… yet!  (Next year is a different story.)


So what do you think?  Do you have opinions on the kid-friendliness / allergy-friendliness of any of the mentioned restaurants?  Do you agree or disagree?  How about others on the OpenTable list or simply those you’ve experienced as being outstanding?  I think it is almost obvious to include many of the Disney World restaurants, but feel free if you must.  Please share your thoughts by clicking Comments or Reply below.

And please don’t forget to rate all your recent dining experiences on our core AllergyEats site at (or via your smartphone)!  Thanks to the support of our amazing community, AllergyEats has become an incredibly useful resource for those with food allergies or intolerances… but we still have so much more to go!  Each time you add a rating – which takes just a minute – you make AllergyEats a more powerful tool for everyone.



    Tom sent us the following:

    We used to go to Bertucci’s, but we have had too many bad experiences with their lack of attention to allergies. We were in Acton, MA and used the Allergy Eats App to find a restaurant. We decided to try “Not Your Average Joe’s”. What a great experience! I believe you have worked with the team at Not Your Average Joe’s in Acton so I know that you are aware of them. We ate a late lunch there yesterday and we felt so comfortable. The waitress was very conscientious and even informed us about possible cross-contamination in the fryer for french fries. The manager came over to our table several times and even said he would fire up a new fryer so my children could non-contaminated fries. Their corporate training states that the wait staff is not allowed to serve the food when there are allergies – the manager has to bring it to the table. We felt comfortable right from the start and my son, who has multiple allergies (Wheat, milk, egg, peanut, soy, tomato, shellfish, beef and pork), felt like a “normal” diner. He was so excited to have a meal he could trust! I looked at the Allergy Eats ratings for some of the other restaurants in the chain and they had similar ratings as the Acton store (there are 19 in all) so i feel that there is a strong allergy awareness that is pushed from corporate. We had the best experience that we have had in quite a long time. If only the Acton store wasn’t over an hour away, we would make it our regular restaurant! We are going to try one of the other stores and see if they are just as good. We definitely feel confident enough to do so.

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